Bradley Wiggins has backed Laura Kenny to make a strong bid for a fifth Olympic gold when she returns to the track for the madison and omnium in Tokyo.
Kenny picked up a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit on Tuesday, the first time she has taken home a medal other than gold from an Olympic Games.
Team GB’s squad were always expected to struggle up against the dominant Germans, who have been the leading force in the event for the Olympic cycle.
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But the British effort wasn’t helped by a crash after posting a world record in their heat to qualify for the final.
“The crash would have hampered things for the final ride, just one hour later, and they never really looked like they got on it in that final,” Bradley Wiggins said when reviewing the gold medal race.
“The Germans were formidable. They did four minutes and four seconds for a women’s quartet.
To put that into perspective, 21 years ago myself and my other three team-mates at the Sydney Olympics Games set an Olympic record with pretty much the same time.
“The women are now going as fast as the men were, so you talk about equality in sport, it’s certainly catching up – the physical gains the women are making in this sport is quite exceptional and the racing has been thrilling to watch.”
'Other nations have caught up'
Team GB had won gold when the Team Pursuit debuted for the women at London 2012 and took gold again in Rio in 2016.
But, despite bettering their own 2016 world record time to take silver in Tokyo, GB weren’t able to match Germany, and Wiggins says it is proof that other countries have caught up.
“The times suggest that Britain have made huge improvements,” he said.
“Our women today set a new world record let’s not forget, you can only do what you can do on the day, and it was bettered by a better team.
Silver medalists Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Laura Kenny and Josie Knight
Image credit: Getty Images
“We’ve dominated the last three Olympiads and I think it’s fair to say we've had quite a lot of technology gains over the other nations.
I think other nations have caught up with us now and it’s become much more of a level playing field.
“We saw a lot of disputes this morning and complaints put in against each nation for different breaches in equipment. It’s become sort of a technology race now as opposed to a physical one.
“I think it’s just much more of a level playing field, and it’s great to watch! I’m glad I didn’t carry on for another five years because chances are it would have been a waste – there’s no silver medal at the Olympics really for me, winning became the standard, winning gold medals.
“Laura Kenny will come back to fight another day, she’s got the omnium let’s not forget, and that could be gold medal number five there for her.”
The women’s madison is on Friday, while the omnium will be one of the final medals awarded at the Tokyo Games, with the four-part event scheduled for August 8.
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